Respectful Insolence

I could resist a brief mention of this. Remember yesterday’s post, when I discussed how EpiWonk had deconstructed and demolished David Kirby’s latest mangling of epidemiology and willful misreading of government reports? Apparently it had an effect. It would appear that Mr. Kirby may actually have read it and taken it to heart. (Either that, or his capable of shame after all.) How do I know? He’s made major modifications of his original post and reposted them.

Out with the old (including the old title): CDC: Vaccine Study Design “Uninformative and Potentially Misleading”

In with the new (including a new title): CDC: Vaccine Study Used Flawed Methods.

The old post still exists at the link above and, oddly enough, is still accepting comments but is no longer linked to from Kirby’s main page.

Mr. Kirby posted his new version at 5:26 PM yesterday. I can’t help but note that I tried to post a link to EpiWonk’s study multiple times yesterday morning in the comments of his original post but not a single time was my comment approved. Apparently Orac has been banned from commenting on Mr. Kirby’s post, which once again shows that Kirby talks a good game about wanting a “real debate” but the actions on his Huffington Post pieces belie that claim. (I tried commenting briefly this morning as an experiment; we’ll see if it is allowed.) So does the fact that he virtually never answers criticism leveled at his HuffPo posts in the comments.

The charitable interpretation of Mr. Kirby’s quick switcheroo is that he made a mistake and is fast to issue a correction. Hey, it happens. We all do it. I’ve made some mistakes on this blog about which I’ve been embarrassed later. Honesty is the best policy in just admitting it and taking the heat. The less charitable interpretation is that Kirby was caught red-handed twisting a document to say something that it did not, in fact, say, turning it into a massive straw man and then attacking that straw man. You can judge for yourself. Given Mr. Kirby’s history, I tend towards the latter interpretation and also because unfortunately his shiny, new “corrected” piece is “even more confused and erroneous than the first one,” as EpiWonk so ably demonstrates). Still, trying to a mistake, even if he botches the execution, is definite progress for Mr. Kirby, which means he may not be beyond all hope. At least he is still capable of shame, and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing Kirby posted late on a Friday afternoon and posted his “fixed” version on Saturday, though. Fewer people will see his retraction.

Actually, I’d like some of whatever EpiWonk has, as, I’m sure, would a lot of other bloggers. We’ve been calling Mr. Kirby on the carpet for three years now over his numerous mistakes in science, epidemiology, and general reasoning when it comes to his handwaving defense of the myth that mercury in vaccines was the cause of the “autism epidemic” (which has over the last year and a half dwindled to a pathetic argumentum ad ignorantiam that “we just don’t know“). Unfortunately, I, at least, have yet to have an acknowledgment of any kind from Mr. Kirby or a direct response to any of my criticisms. As I said, Kirby talks a good game when it comes to boldly boasting that he wants his harshest critics to bring him “tough questions,” but apparently he only wants this at one of his talks, where the room will be packed with his supporters and he can get away with the vaccine version of the Gish gallop without being pinned down. Now if we could only get Mr. Kirby to stop moving the goalposts regarding how long we have to wait after the removal of thimerosal from vaccines for a major drop in new cases of autism before we can conclude that thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

Comments

  1. #1 This is what honest people do
    June 22, 2008

    When honest people make mistakes and/or decide that a clarification is needed. They make clarifications… It’s that simple. When people don’t do that… then they are considered ignorant and a moron. You, Orac, would fall into that “moron” category when you don’t admit for all to see that the Danish epi studies are bogus or the Fombonne study in Canada is worthless… Do you get it… Admit your mistakes and you can be seen in a positive light. Cover-up mistakes and you are seen as a moron. Get it now? Good.

  2. #2 John Best
    June 22, 2008

    Orac,
    You’re right, Kirby’s good at saying “we just don’t know”. Too bad he won’t pay any attention to those who do know since we watched our kids get better by removing the mercury.
    Why don’t you ask him to be a spokesman for your side so he can make your lot look like a bunch of indecisive dopes? My kid needs a spokesman like him like a hole in the head.

  3. #3 Joseph
    June 22, 2008

    This is the first time I’ve seen David Kirby post some sort of acknowledgment of a correction. For example, when he made that 10-fold error regarding autism in Scotland, he quietly altered the post without acknowledgment.

    I once asked him for clarification on data discrepancies I found in an analysis of his, and my comments were never approved by HuffPo.

  4. #4 stavros
    June 22, 2008

    To the first commenter:

    honest people allow critical comments in their posts -something Kirby doesn’t do.

    Your comment should by all means be banned because it serves no purpose but to insult Orac. Yet, your comment is still here available for all to see. That’s because of the open debate policy of science bloggers. Even though this means that sometimes utterly ridiculous people like yourself will get to comment here…

  5. #5 D. C. Sessions
    June 22, 2008

    And sure enough, the knee-jerk response is a personal attack with no substance, completely ignoring the merits of the argument itself.

    Orac, I believe you may recall my regular description of the Way of the Holy Warrior:

    • If you disagree with me, you must not have heard the Message (ignorant)
    • If you disagree with me but clearly know the Message, you must be incapable of understanding it (incompetent)
    • If you disagree with me but clearly understand the Message, you must have chosen to oppose the Truth (evil)

    Bottom line: anyone who disagrees with me must be ignorant, incompetent, or evil.

  6. #6 Bronze Dog
    June 22, 2008

    Why is it that whenever anyone complains about the Danish and Canadian studies, they never, ever under any circumstances explain their complaints or provide detailed criticism?

    It’s like the antivaxxers are just expecting us to believe they’re bunk because they divinely decree it.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    June 22, 2008

    Why is it that whenever anyone complains about the Danish and Canadian studies, they never, ever under any circumstances explain their complaints or provide detailed criticism?

    Lesser minds start from a fact here, some logic there, and take baby steps until they end up with worthless intellectual nonsense. Greater minds, inspired by profound forces such as Motherhood, leap directly to the Truth. Those in possession of the Truth know that those studies are bunk — just look, they came to the wrong answer. Why waste time with all that picky detail stuff when you already know the answer?

    We had a good example yesterday, where John Best came right out and told us:

    A genuis like Epiwonk should be able to do a simple study of vaccines before 1931 and after 1931 to see if there is a correlation between autism and thimerosal. Somehow, I doubt she will reach the correct conclusion.

    Even before anyone does the work, John knows the correct answer. If EpiWonk comes up with anything else, it just proves that she’s incompetent.

  8. #8 Joseph
    June 22, 2008

    Note that it’s not true that the flaws of “the Canadian study” have not been discussed by skeptics. In fact, I stated back then that Dr. Fombonne should’ve addressed the criticism. He probably thought it was beneath him, given who the critique was coming from.

    Regardless, it’s not like the errors in Fombonne et al. suddenly mean that thimerosal causes autism now. Science doesn’t work like that. There’s similar epidemiology and data one can look at and verify first hand, e.g. from California. The real world facts matter too. In Canada thimerosal was removed from vaccines completely in 1992. Did the population of autistic children go away? No. Apparently 1% of kindergarten children there are autistic.

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    June 22, 2008

    In Canada thimerosal was removed from vaccines completely in 1992. Did the population of autistic children go away? No. Apparently 1% of kindergarten children there are autistic.

    No doubt they’re still using vaccines stockpiled before the thimerosal was removed. Or perhaps the evil mojo of the vaccines to the south is powerful enough to cross the border. Or the mothers were vaccinated with thimerosal.

    The details aren’t important anyway. What counts is that the vaccines are to blame.

  10. #10 Jennyraleesimo
    June 22, 2008

    John Best, you don’t need Kirby like another hole in your head. You need Jenny McCarthy. Did you hear that her say in her interview on Worldwide Puja Network that her new book is an “indigo” book. She and her friends at TACANOW and Generation Rescue are Indigos and Crystals.

    JB Handley is a high holy Indigo priest now.

    So you must be one of the indigo acolytes. How lovely for you. Do you get to wear a veil? There is a new earth coming right behind the Indigo goddesses and their crystal children, John. You won’t need to sue anyone because the crystals will heal you of your greedy, twisted and violent nature. It’s already working on JB Handley, he’s displaying more of his goddess nature all the time. http://www.abhus.com/admin/images/willendorf_venus.jpg
    We love you Jenny. We patiently await the return of indigomoms.com

  11. #11 Kev
    June 22, 2008

    “When honest people make mistakes and/or decide that a clarification is needed. They make clarifications… It’s that simple. When people don’t do that… then they are considered ignorant and a moron.”

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=813

  12. #12 sirhcton
    June 22, 2008

    No doubt they’re still using vaccines stockpiled before the thimerosal was removed.

    Actually, I would guess that the thimerosal (or any mercury) have not actually been removed, since they permeate the environment. They have just been diluted to minute, undetectable levels. As such, by the rules of homeopathy, they are now even stronger if effect and this has caused the “autism epidemic.” I should guess that the only way to really combat the epidemic is to start using much stronger quantities, even stronger than those before 1992. Why has Mr. Kirby not proposed this?

  13. #13 DLC
    June 22, 2008

    Well, one day maybe Kirby will admit his mistakes.
    And around that time there will be trials and tribulations, the seas shall give up their dead and . ..
    Well, I won’t wait for the End Times.

    One of the most important pieces of preventive medicine is under attack by a mob of people who have made the internet-rocket-assisted leap to the conclusion that vaccines are bad, mmm-kaay.

  14. #14 Phil
    June 22, 2008

    “When honest people make mistakes and/or decide that a clarification is needed. They make clarifications… It’s that simple. When people don’t do that… then they are considered ignorant and a moron.”

    Well, neener neener neener to you to. What a cogent argument for the link between autism and vaccines you make. If only I had listened to your line of reasoning earlier!

  15. #15 Heraclides
    June 22, 2008

    Call me critical if you will, but my initial impression of David’s correction was that the correction itself showed that he lacked full understanding. My reading of the correction was that it was a little like quote mining in that he appears to have picked up the words of the phrase “ecological study” repeated through EpiWonk’s blog without really understanding the meaning of the phrase how this impacts on this claims and has more-or-less left his article itself as it stands. In the end it feels like a partial, ignorant (in the literal sense, not the insulting sense) “correction” to save face rather than a genuine correction (in the sense of gaining an i>understanding what was wrong and from this putting it right). Just my impression from a quick skim.

  16. #16 Heraclides
    June 22, 2008

    EpiWonk has now written a critique of David’s “corrected” article. (David Kirby HuffPost, Take 2: My Original Story was Flawed, So Here’s A Second (“Corrected”) Story That’s Still Flawed, But I Hope I Can Snow You Under Again This Time…)

    Seems you’re not the only one being blocked from posting at the Huff’n’puff Post, Orac…

    (My “apologies” for the revised name for that ever so august publication, but once you reduce it to “Huff” my mind takes me to the wolf trying to blow the piggies house down…!)

  17. #17 Ms. Clark
    June 22, 2008

    I think of it as Huffpoof.

    What Ariana Huffington has done to try to damage confidence in public health policy is criminal. But I’m sure she’s busy getting on the phone getting her Tarot read by Jenny McDumbell while getting her roots touched up about now and not really concerned with how many babies will die this year of whooping cough in the US.

  18. #18 Mary Parsons
    June 23, 2008

    As such, by the rules of homeopathy, they are now even stronger if effect and this has caused the “autism epidemic.”

    Tsk, do not mis-represent homeopaths in the same way as Kirby does decent research.

    Any fule know that it’s dilution and succussion that makes a homeopathic remedy and indeed, several homeopaths complained to The Guardian and the Press Complaints Commission that Ben Goldacre had omitted this vital step in describing their remedy formulation and had thus made them look ridiculous.

    One complainant says: “Goldacre seems to think that homeopathic remedies are prepared by diluting substances. He omits the critical component of shaking (‘succussion’) between serial dilutions without which they would, indeed, be merely water rather than potentised substances.”

    As for this:

    Or perhaps the evil mojo of the vaccines to the south is powerful enough to cross the border.

    It’s plain to see that it is one of those powerful intention expts. at work. Big Pharma wants your child to be ill. The presence of a thimerosal containing vaccine somewhere in the world is enough to resonate out teh eeevil intention or some such.

  19. #19 bones
    June 23, 2008

    Very good points, D.C.

    As for David, I believe him to be a fame junkie – nothing more, nothing less. Consequently, he is uninterested in the truth because his primary objective is the spotlight.

    A quasi-journalist pretending to be a scientist…such hubris is blinding.

  20. #20 Too Bad
    June 23, 2008

    “When honest people make mistakes and/or decide that a clarification is needed. They make clarifications… It’s that simple. When people don’t do that… then they are considered ignorant and a moron.”

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=813

    Too bad that you missed your chance to meet with David Kirby when he was over in the UK Kev… Perhaps you could have questioned him about his “errors”. Then you go ahead and blog about all the questions that you would have asked him if you could have… LOL! Lame.

    Kirby is a journalist. He should always correct things when he makes mistakes and make note of them. I agree. I don’t really have too much time to analyze your blog for the horrible mistakes that Kirby made on HuffPo and didn’t note. I’m sure they were HUGE. (rolls eyes).

    Having said that… I’d be more concerned about issues directly related to how the CDC misled and continues to mislead the public in regards to bogus epi studies (did the Epi Wanker respond yet)? I’d also be concerned about the CDC lying about 36,000 people dying from the flu each year. I’d also be a bit worried that we’ve had morons at the CDC, AAP, etc. who still somehow believe that injecting babies with a known neurotoxin is safe and effective.

    The good news? The tide is turning. With Dr. Sears coming out with a book in regards to safer vaccination policies (one would wonder why you would need this if vaccines are totally safe)… And, no it has NOTHING to do with the anti-vaxx nuts scaring the public.

    So, Kev, you are correct. Kirby should admit his mistakes and make changes and make note of those changes when applicable. Now, for your side?

  21. #21 Melissa G
    June 23, 2008

    Crystals and the color indigo are so, so pretty. It’s a shame the kooks have co-opted them!

    …I’m going to establish a Crystal ranking system for scientists! The ranks will be based on the interesting electrochemical properties or polychroism of said crystals!!! Tourmaline and iolite will be tops!!! You can’t reach Tourmaline Clearance without a research lab, and Iolite Mastery will be conferred upon publishing in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal. :D

    There will be a Deeply Seekrit rank for Limestone, preserver extraordinaire of fossils!

  22. #22 Interrobang
    June 23, 2008

    Speaking as someone who has studied the rhetoric of denialist arguments quite thoroughly (I should have done my Master’s thesis on it, come to think of it), “I don’t have time” inevitably translates as “I can’t be bothered,” and even aside from denialists (unless the speaker has cites), “I’m sure that” always means “I’m talking out my ass because it makes me feel more comfortable.”

    Talk about “lame.” Don’t you guys ever learn any new tricks?

  23. #23 Too Bad is not what common people do
    June 23, 2008

    Ah, it appears Common Skank M. has left her stain on yet another blog. Tired of haunting and trolling the diabetes and autism forums, it slithers over and tantrums here in science forums. So precious.

    Kirby got Wonk-slapped yet again. He’s just a used car salesman.

  24. #24 D. C. Sessions
    June 23, 2008

    Speaking as someone who has studied the rhetoric of denialist arguments quite thoroughly (I should have done my Master’s thesis on it, come to think of it), “I don’t have time” inevitably translates as “I can’t be bothered,”

    I beg to differ.

    “I don’t have time” translates to “busted!

  25. #25 Uncle Dave
    June 23, 2008

    Wouldn’t have just been better for Kirby to just retract the whole damn thing rather than try to explain what he didn’t know to begin with?

    Better to retract the whole, then to write again and be thought a bigger….

  26. #26 Kev
    June 23, 2008

    “Too bad that you missed your chance to meet with David Kirby when he was over in the UK Kev… Perhaps you could have questioned him about his “errors”. Then you go ahead and blog about all the questions that you would have asked him if you could have… LOL! Lame.”

    It is indeed too bad. I would’ve liked to have met David and debated him.

    “I’m sure they were HUGE.”

    Then you were right :)

    “I’d be more concerned about issues directly related to how the CDC misled and continues to mislead the public in regards to bogus epi studies”

    Which studies are these and why are they bogus?

    “I’d also be concerned about the CDC lying about 36,000 people dying from the flu each year.”

    There are hundreds of thousands of flu related deaths per year. I’d say CDC underestimated.

    “I’d also be a bit worried that we’ve had morons at the CDC, AAP, etc. who still somehow believe that injecting babies with a known neurotoxin is safe and effective.”

    Do you have any evidence that

    1) This known neurotoxin causes autism?
    2) It isn’t safe at the doses adminstered?
    3) It isn’t effective at its role during the manufacturing process?

  27. #27 Just a Journalist
    June 23, 2008

    “It is indeed too bad. I would’ve liked to have met David and debated him”.

    I can’t help but to wonder what the response would have been from you had it been David who cancelled the meeting. I do believe that David Kirby would have held up quite nicely to anything that you would have thrown at him. Typically when you have sense on your side and you don’t have to defend neurotoxins being injected into babies… You Win. Perhaps deep down you recognized that.

    I must say Kev, as I was directed back to your blog today, I took the opportunity to browse around on another post. I was struck by these comments from JHC who I will say (and I can assume that you would agree) seems very logical and certainly NOT an anti-vaccine nut:

    “Maybe it’s Mercury + some other mystery piece of the puzzle. I don’t know and confess that this issue is confusing on all sides. I do know that on the day my 4 month old got her first vaccine, she had her first seizure and we were told, no biggie. On the day of the second vaccine, seizures started thru the roof and we end up with about 300 before they stabilized in the last couple of years”.

    and then this from the same poster:

    “I am just a regular dad with a 7 year old who has Autism. They tell us, no way, no how vaccines are related. Many of those same people say the biomedical treatments don’t work either, and they are flat wrong”.

    It’s too bad, Kev, that you didn’t comment back to that reasonable poster. You could have shared stories about how your daughter was rushed to the hospital with seizures after her vaccinations. You could have addressed the fact that coincidentally following vaccinations this posters child suffered pretty severely from seizures. I don’t think that even you could deny the connection between vaccinations and seizures.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to fully understand the connection between vaccinations/seizures/and yes, autism? Perhaps it’s something that you could look into. I would venture to say that this could be even more important than analyzing ever word that David Kirby has to say… afterall, he’s just a journalist. Right?

  28. #28 Bronze Dog
    June 23, 2008

    I have really got to get around to doing that “Toxins” Doggerel entry. Don’t you know that everything is a neurotoxin in high enough doses? And what definition of “mercury” are you using?

    As for your post hoc fallacy, don’t you think we should move away from the same medieval mentality that justified the use of leeches and bloodletting?

    I’ll let the others handle your post, since you obviously don’t read everything that’s been said about these magical alchemical connections that change every week.

  29. #29 Dangerous Bacon
    June 23, 2008

    Just A Journalist: “I don’t think that even you could deny the connection between vaccinations and seizures.”

    I don’t think it’s ever been denied by physicians and experts in the field of immunization that seizures are an unusual complication of vaccination. What the antivaxers who harp on this appear to be denying (or to be charitable, are ignorant of) is that vaccine-preventable diseases themselves cause seizures and long-term neurologic damage that are far worse than what’s seen with vaccines. From a study that examined febrile seizures associated with vaccination:

    “CONCLUSIONS: There are significantly elevated risks of febrile seizures on the day of receipt of DTP vaccine and 8 to 14 days after the receipt of MMR vaccine, but these risks do not appear to be associated with any long-term, adverse consequences.
    “(This)analysis of unprovoked seizures and other neurobehavioral disorders is focused on children who had febrile seizures. They found no difference between children whose febrile seizures were associated with MMR or DTP vaccinations compared with children whose febrile seizures occurred spontaneously. This lack of any association is reassuring; however, even in this enormous study, they were still not able to exclude sizeable effects (doubling or more) in the risk of epilepsy and other neurobehavioral outcomes. For this, it is necessary to read across the available, large, carefully conducted studies, all of which find no increased risk and of which, taken as a whole, provide reasonable reassurance of MMR and DTP vaccines’ safety.

    The serious effects of the illness against which these vaccines protect are well documented and measurable. Encephalitis and resulting encephalopathies from many of the diseases themselves are prevented in as many children (perhaps more) as incur febrile seizures (a relatively benign outcome in the long run) following vaccination. Immunization for pertussis was terminated in Sweden in 1979. Over a 2-year period, over 2000 children were hospitalized with pertussis. Four percent suffered neurologic complications, and three died 4. A serious acute encephalitis caused by measles can occur in approximately 1 out of 1000 cases, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a typically fatal complication of measles, occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000,000 cases. Such occurrences appear to be prevented through vaccination.”

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=320893

    Question: Do competent journalists seek out readily available information like this when reporting on vaccination? Or do they take a position and are hell-bent on promoting it regardless of the evidence?

    If you’re having trouble deciding, you may want to examine just what you think a journalist is.

  30. #30 wfjag
    June 23, 2008

    DB:

    The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists is at http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    I’ll let you and all other readers review it and your exchanges with Just A Journalist and decide for themselves whether JAJ is following those professional standards.

  31. #31 Ugh...
    June 23, 2008

    “They found no difference between children whose febrile seizures were associated with MMR or DTP vaccinations compared with children whose febrile seizures occurred spontaneously”.

    Febrile seizures which occurred “spontaneously”? Hmmmm, who’s making the decision on when a seizure occurs spontaneously as opposed to after vaccination. It seems almost laughable to me… let’s see here’s what they say:

    “There are significantly elevated risks of febrile seizures on the day of receipt of DTP vaccine and 8 to 14 days after the receipt of MMR vaccine, but these risks do not appear to be associated with any long-term, adverse consequences”.

    Oh man… so in order for the seizure to be “associated” with the vaccine it has to happen on the day of receipt of the DTP or 8-14 days post mmr? Really? So, your child has a seizure 3 days post DTP or 15 days post mmr and it’s considered “spontaneous”…. Sure…

    “This lack of any association is reassuring; however, even in this enormous study, they were still not able to exclude sizeable effects (doubling or more) in the risk of epilepsy and other neurobehavioral outcomes”.

    Cool. This makes me feel so much better.

    Of course the idiots who run the CDC, Pharma companies, AAP, etc… don’t even attempt to make a safer schedule for babies… I wonder how many seizures and neurological problems could be avoided if they didn’t combine the DTP and mmr shots? Or the mmr/chicken pox? Or the 5-in-1 shots which are known to be more dangerous? I guess it doesn’t matter because we all that there’s no connection between seizures/autism… Sure…. Please.

  32. #32 Journalism 101
    June 23, 2008

    “I’ll let you and all other readers review it and your exchanges with Just A Journalist and decide for themselves whether JAJ is following those professional standards”.

    Thanks for playing dude… Nice Try :)

  33. #33 stavros
    June 23, 2008

    Ugh said:

    “Of course the idiots who run the CDC, Pharma companies, AAP, etc… don’t even attempt to make a safer schedule for babies…”

    Please, before posting nonsense do a little bit of homework first. I am in no way an expert in vaccine-related issues, but I am well aware that the current schedule contains *way* less antigens than a few years ago. Orac or someone more into the field can verify this with some actual numbers please?

  34. #34 Go Back to Sleep Sheep
    June 23, 2008

    “Please, before posting nonsense do a little bit of homework first. I am in no way an expert in vaccine-related issues, but I am well aware that the current schedule contains *way* less antigens than a few years ago”.

    Please, before you tell me to stop posting nonsense why don’t you clue in, friend.

    Thanks for the info on antigens (heard all about it). Why don’t you compare the amount of vaccines given. In 1983, kids were given 10. Today, I believe it’s 36 (give or take a few). Why don’t you compare the schedule of when the vaccines are given and in what combinations? Why don’t you compare the amounts of aluminum back in 1983 vs. today? Why don’t research what happens when infants are given vaccines before they have a fully developed blood/brain barrier (Hep B at birth or flu shots in pregnancy). Why don’t you tell me what happens when a child has multiple seizures from vaccines?

    It’s pretty clear at this point that we have no idea what we are doing… Wake up.

  35. #35 bones
    June 23, 2008

    Go Back to Sleep Sheep said: “It’s pretty clear at this point that we have no idea what we are doing…”

    I believe you meant to say: “I have absolutley no idea what I’m talking about so I will dilute the issue at hand with strawmen and irrelevant clatter”

    The issue is thimerosal containing vaccines and whether or not they cause autism. You and your ilk have sat around for the last 8 years with your thumbs up your asses, incessantly crying on and on about the evils of vaccinations, all the while providing no science demonstarting…no wait…ineptly incapable of providing science demonstrating a link between vaccines (in part or in whole) and autism.

    Point to fevers & seizures all you want Kim (ohhh, I mean GBTSS) – that’s merely a diversion tactic because you don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

    Is it too many vax; thimerosal causes autism; thimerosal = Hg poisoning = autism; MMR?; vaccines cause autism? Environmental toxins cause autism?

    8 years of moving goal posts and nothing….good job. Even if you were on to something you’d never sit still long enough to conduct valid scientific analyses to find out.

    That’s really the shame of it all…

  36. #36 Bronze Dog
    June 23, 2008

    I love how we’re accused of being sheep when anti-vaxxers talk about issues as if they’re applying TV advertisement and Hollywood logic to real life. Marketers probably love them to death.

  37. #37 Kev
    June 23, 2008

    So – ‘Just a Journalist/ Too Bad’ – should I assume from that long, pointless comment that you can’t in fact answer any of the questions I put to you?

  38. #38 Natalie
    June 23, 2008

    Kev, I’d say that’s a safe assumption.

  39. #39 Troublesome Frog
    June 23, 2008

    Go Back to Sleep Sheep,

    The line that says “Name:” in the posting form is actually for a unique identifier (like a name), not a subject line, a constantly changing catch phrase, recipes for cookies, etc. Using it for something other than that is confusing and annoying.

  40. #40 Dear Boner
    June 23, 2008

    “The issue is thimerosal containing vaccines and whether or not they cause autism”.

    Actually, we moved the goalposts, remember? There’s a lot more involved. Schedule, aluminum, live viruses, etc. etc. etc. (ps most of us have been discussing this from day one, so it really isn’t a moving of the goalposts).

    So, what’s the connection between vaccinations, seizures and autism, Boner? Wouldn’t that be good to know? We could certainly save a lot of kids from damage if we could get our hands around the issue of vaccinations, seizures and autism — as we all know — there is a connection.

    “You and your ilk have sat around for the last 8 years with your thumbs up your asses”

    Ah, excuse me? Who are sitting around doing nothing? Certainly not the people who have been doing all the work trying to figure out how vaccinations trigger autism as we know they do. The ones sitting around doing nothing are from “your side” and you know it.

    ps. Who’s Kim?

  41. #41 bones
    June 23, 2008

    Ahhhh…more drivel. It gets boring after the humor wears off.

  42. #42 Lefty Righty
    June 23, 2008

    “So – ‘Just a Journalist/ Too Bad’ – should I assume from that long, pointless comment that you can’t in fact answer any of the questions I put to you”?

    Here you go again, Kev… It’s no wonder that your blog tanked and people never respond to you. Somehow you think that you are the only one who gets to ask the questions. How’s that working for you?

    Because I’m feeling generous, I’ll answer your questions.

    1) No proof, but a lot of evidence.
    2) It is never safe to knowingly *inject* neurotoxins into babies. I’d like to turn that one around on you though. Do you have any evidence (real biological evidence) that injecting neurotoxins into babies is safe?
    3) I don’t care about the manufacturing process… I care about infants’ brains. You should too.

    Why didn’t you respond back to that nice poster whose son had over 300 seizures due to our unsafe vaccination schedule?

  43. #43 Common Skank M.
    June 23, 2008

    This thread has the stench of Sue on a roll… off her meds again. But the journalist claim is funny. Could it be that the disease otherwise known as a contributor to Generation Rescue/John Best Fan Club/Age of Autism is somehow calling itself a journalist? Bwahahahaha!

    Antivax lemmings like our little “journalist” friend here certainly come out of the woodwork in an effort to derail learning and science.

  44. #44 StuV
    June 23, 2008

    No proof, but a lot of evidence.

    You are obviously unaware of what “evidence” is.

  45. #45 No meds here
    June 23, 2008

    “This thread has the stench of Sue on a roll… off her meds again”.

    I know that there are a few here who do need medication… I am not one of them. Thanks for your concern though.

  46. #46 Mary Parsons
    June 23, 2008

    I’ve just come across what Neal Pearce intended to be:

    a satirical set of guidelines for a ‘corporate epidemiologist’ who is asked to review a study:

    Consider only the specific study that you have been asked to review. Don’t consider supporting evidence from other epidemiologic or experimental studies.

    There are three possible questions you could consider: (i) is there any chance that the study findings are right? (ii) is there any chance that the study findings are wrong? (iii) what is the balance of evidence? Restrict yourself to the second question.

    Prepare a list of possible biases. Do not comment on the likely direction or magnitude of the biases. Conclude that there are many ‘fatal flaws’ in the study and it is therefore uninterpretable.

    Decline to comment directly on policy, but insist that further studies must be undertaken which avoid the biases identified in step 3.

    Go back to step 1.

    Same applies to people who want to deprecate an epidemiological study without understanding any of the concepts and attempting to conceal that lack of detail with inadvertrivia and errorstorms that are too heavy to begin to know where to respond.

  47. #47 bones
    June 23, 2008

    “You are obviously unaware of what “evidence” is.”

    Ain’t that the truth.

    “No truth, but alot of evidence”

    …wtf does that mean. THAT is some funny shizzo…soon to get boring.

  48. #48 Mary Parsons
    June 23, 2008

    I lost the blockquote. From ‘Consider only the specific study…Go back to step 1′ should be in the quotation.

    I long for a browser add-on that means you will only have to use one set of coding styles for different comment facilities.

  49. #49 NM
    June 23, 2008

    Mary

    If you’re going to quote Neil Pearce you should probably have some vague understanding of what epidemiological standards are being discussed instead of working backwards from a preordained conclusion -which is what Neil is actually protesting against in that article.

    As well as occupational epidemiology (diseases in particular jobs) Neil is best known for the Fenoterol Story (published in paperback form for the public as “Adverse Reactions: The Fenoterol story”). This was a treatment for asthma used most commonly in New Zealand which was responsible for a large increase in the asthma mortality rate in NZ in the 80s. It has nothing in common with the vaccine-autism ‘debate’.

  50. #50 NM
    June 23, 2008

    Sorry Mary

    I missphrased that.

    What I meant to communicate was that Pearce is talking about situations where there are real harmful effects that have been identified in studies yielding true positive results (i.e. accurate and true evidence of harm) are being denied by corporate interests (e.g. fenoterol) who appear to use his (partly) satirical algorithm. As this does not appear to be the case in this particular ‘debate’ where the best epidemiological evidence is in favour of a null effect I rashly descided his work was being misquoted somewhat.

    One could of course (as you were pointing out) also use this algorithm if one were a crank trying to discredit a true negative study.- This was the point where I misunderstood the tone of your post. I apologise.

  51. #51 chrisD
    June 23, 2008

    Name Mutator said:
    “Certainly not the people who have been doing all the work trying to figure out how vaccinations trigger autism as we know they do.

    This is your problem in bold for the world to see. You are no different than the Creationists who know that the Bible is correct, therefore let’s choose the evidence that agrees (which is nil) and ignore that which doesn’t. Your knowledge blinds you to the point where you are unable to see any contrary evidence for what it is.

    If I may make an alliteration: you are as territorial with your knowledge as a dog is with his bone. Except you’ve never had a bone, not even a thigh or a wing and a prayer, so you scurry off digging in random spots attempting to dig up the truth of your disappearing bone. Only the yard you’re digging in is cold and hard, and for all your scratching your bone remains missing. Such is your knowledge of the as-yet unlinked “fact of correlation” between autism and “toxins in vaccines.”

    A dog unwilling to relinquish control of their bone which they’ve yet to find themselves… sad really.

  52. #52 Mary Parsons
    June 24, 2008

    NM – what with my html clunkiness it is hard to control for tone as well. The interpretation that I intended was as per your 9:56 post, so we’re fine. (I have read Adverse Reactions: The Fenoterol Story by the by and assume that at some point it will have the tour de force treatment and end up on a TV/cinema screen.)

    For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the Int. J. Epi issue from which I (incompetently) quoted the Pearce contains several free full-text articles in the Point-Counterpoint section on the issue of conflict of interest, influences on epidemiology and accusations of ‘junk’ science. One of the strongest messages is that too many people who do not have any grounding in epidemiology attempt to use its or to criticise others who do.

  53. #53 Magpie
    June 24, 2008

    I don’t want to invoke the ghost of Best’s rationality, but because it’s such a common canard:

    Too bad he won’t pay any attention to those who do know since we watched our kids get better by removing the mercury.

    You do know that kids also get better without removing the mercury, don’t you? And that kids get autism without mercury? So how do you filter the causes from the noise? It’s called Epidemiology, and it says you’re wrong.

  54. #54 StuV
    June 24, 2008

    Must be the fault of the queers then.

    Right, John?

  55. #55 Can Boner Read?
    June 24, 2008

    “No truth, but alot of evidence”

    …wtf does that mean. THAT is some funny shizzo…soon to get boring”.

    I don’t know what that means, Boner? Why don’t you tell me what that means… since you made it up…

    There’s nothing funnier than an idiot who laughs and laughs about something that he misquotes. Good Job.

    Talk about some funny shizzo…

  56. #56 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    Actually with your constant name changes, there is no evidence to suggest that you were not ‘lefty righty’ in which case, boner is spot on to quote it.

    Read the thread first before making an ass of yourself with accusations.

  57. #57 Kev
    June 24, 2008

    “Here you go again, Kev… It’s no wonder that your blog tanked and people never respond to you. Somehow you think that you are the only one who gets to ask the questions. How’s that working for you?”

    Well, you answered, so it seems to be doing just fine :)

    And the blogs doing fine too :)

    “1) No proof, but a lot of evidence.”

    So, minus the prevarication, the answer is ‘no’.

    “2) It is never safe to knowingly *inject* neurotoxins into babies. I’d like to turn that one around on you though.”

    That’s not an answer, that’s a continuation of your so far unsupported assertion. I’ll ask you again. Do you have any evidence that it isn’t safe at the doses administered?

    “Do you have any evidence (real biological evidence) that injecting neurotoxins into babies is safe?”

    Nope.

    “3) I don’t care about the manufacturing process… I care about infants’ brains. You should too.”

    So, once again, minus the prevarication and appeals to emotion, the answer is ‘no’.

    You really suck at this don’t you?

  58. #58 Can Dedj Read?
    June 24, 2008

    “Actually with your constant name changes, there is no evidence to suggest that you were not ‘lefty righty’ in which case, boner is spot on to quote it.

    Read the thread first before making an ass of yourself with accusations”.

    Dear Dedj,

    Can you please find the quote where Lefty Righty wrote the following sentence:

    “No truth, but alot of evidence”

    Thank you in advance.

    Are all of you this damn stupid :)

  59. #59 Oh, Kevvy
    June 24, 2008

    “Do you have any evidence that it isn’t safe at the doses administered”?

    I would like to see the safety studies on thimerosal first (in ANY dose)… and then we can talk.

    Have you answered or offered your opinion to the kind poster whose child had over 300 seizures following vaccine injury? You should do that.

  60. #60 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    I wouldn;t be too harsh on them Kev, after all they’ve been told it’s a neurotoxin, therefore it must be toxic at all doses, therefore all products with it in are toxic and can therefore never be beneficial in the long run.

    The ability to do a cost versus benefit analysis is beyond them.

    Best just to swallow the GOV line whole. Prevents having to think.

  61. #61 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    June 23, 2008 7:07pm

    Pwned , as they say.

  62. #62 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    aw yawn, it was a paraphrase, but it was not a distortion of the original quote, thus it still stands as the sarcastic dig it was so bloody obviously meant to be.

  63. #63 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    Oops , jumped the gun there and posted my reply before you posted your anal-retentive whine.

    You do know what word-play is? It’s a form of humour , something you seem so willing to use against others yet seem so defensive when used against yourself. Get over it and stop whinging.

    “I would like to see the safety studies on thimerosal first (in ANY dose)… and then we can talk.”

    Certainly – what databases have you checked so far? Which ones do you have subscriptions to? What about Hayney, Clements, Thompson? Any name ring a bell?

    Have you even bothered looking? Seriously, there’s actual lives at stake here, it’s not the time to fuck around waving your e-peen – have you actually bothered your arse to look or are you just here to try to play with the grown-ups?

  64. #64 bones
    June 24, 2008

    LMAO….that’s what you’re gonna focus on…”No proof, but a lot of evidence.” v. “No truth, but a lot of evidence”.

    Differnce? None really, in essence, because you have neither truth nor proof.

    Just more irrelevant nonesense, John. Amusingly juvenile, but irrelevant nonetheless.

  65. #65 Steve
    June 24, 2008

    As for the whole “injecting babies with neurotoxins” thing; yes, I’d inject a (even my) baby with neurotoxins. Hell, I’d inject myself with tetrodotoxin just to prove a point to these people. It’s all in the dose (as anyone who has done electrophys with TTX to block a sodium current will tell you).

  66. #66 Joseph
    June 24, 2008

    I would like to see the safety studies on thimerosal first (in ANY dose)… and then we can talk.

    There will never be more comprehensive or methodologically sound studies than Thompson et al. (2007) and its sister study which will come out soon. If you want more expensive and better studies until such time a negative is proven, you’ll have to wait a long time.

    To illustrate how impossible it is to prove a negative, suppose a study finds the Risk Ratio of thimerosal is 1.0 with 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05. Clearly, there’s a chance that the real risk ratio is between 1.01 and 1.05. We just can’t tell for sure. There might be an undetectable effect. No matter how many children you put in the study, there’s always some room for doubt.

  67. #67 John Best
    June 24, 2008

    Joseph,
    The Doubleday study is the standard for thimerosal safety. Since no MD will take an easy $100K for one lousy shot of thimerosal, we can be certain that it is not safe. Case closed.

  68. #68 Dear Boner ...
    June 24, 2008

    “LMAO….that’s what you’re gonna focus on…”No proof, but a lot of evidence.” v. “No truth, but a lot of evidence”.

    Differnce? None really, in essence, because you have neither truth nor proof”.

    Boner,

    There is a huge difference between those two quotes. You screwed the quote up and *you* look like the idiot. No really, you do. The fact is… I cannot PROVE to you that vaccinations trigger autism or assorted other problems in children. I admit that. We need more studies done in order for there to be PROOF – I don’t throw that term around. I will say that we have very good evidence that this is the case (vaccines trigger autism – feel free to call it autism-like symptoms if you prefer – LOL!). That is where I was coming from.

    Now, the fact that you screwed up and quoted me as saying something as foolish as: “No truth, but alot of evidence”… is funny to me. Who says that? What does that mean? I would never say something so stupid :) The fact that you made fun of me for saying something that I didn’t say… is funny. The fact that your friend, Dedj, piled on with the nonsense after not cluing in that you screwed up the quote… is even funnier.

    It says alot about both of you.

  69. #69 Pwned , as they say.
    June 24, 2008

    “Oops , jumped the gun there and posted my reply before you posted your anal-retentive whine”.

    LOL! Nice try Dedj… Way to look like an idiot. You probably should have kept quiet, huh?

    “Certainly – what databases have you checked so far? Which ones do you have subscriptions to? What about Hayney, Clements, Thompson? Any name ring a bell?

    Have you even bothered looking? Seriously, there’s actual lives at stake here, it’s not the time to fuck around waving your e-peen – have you actually bothered your arse to look or are you just here to try to play with the grown-ups”?

    OMG… I am so sorry Dedj, I feel so foolish. Are you telling me that if I were to look in the above databases then I will get some safety studies on thimerosal? Really? I should have checked into it further. Can you please do me a favor and search those databases for some safety studies on thimerosal in vaccines (biological, not epi)? I am just a lowly parent … I have no access to such scientific literature. Please post the study information. Thank you in advance. I will look forward to what you find. Considering lives are at stake – I will trust you that there are in fact studies on thimerosal in vaccines. While you are at it (searching those databases) can you do a search on aluminum as well? Thanks again!

  70. #70 Dedj
    June 24, 2008

    I have no idea who boner is, thus ,I can’t be their friend.

    Also, boner did not screw up the quote – it was clearly a sarcastic paraphrase of what you said. That is, it was a attempt to poke fun at you by pointing out how stupid what you’re saying actually is. Note the word ‘is’, there was no distortion of what you said.

    There was no mistake on their part – the mistake was on your part for failing to set the context properly. You left yourself open for being made to look like a fool, and that’s exactly what happened. Your pedantry and upset over what was a minor poke at your ribs makes you look even dumber.

    You can give it, but you sure as hell can’t take it.

    You cocked up and now have egg on your face. Case closed.

    Now, what databases have you searched on again?

  71. #71 NM
    June 24, 2008

    Dear Mary

    If I see Neil again I’ll have to let him know that he’s now being referred to on the interwebby as “the Pearce”.

    As for a fenoterol movie? It’s unlikley. As I understand it NZ was the only country that was severly afflicted.

  72. #72 She's Another Antivax Troll Crying Over Spilled Thimerosal
    June 24, 2008

    “Seriously, there’s actual lives at stake here”

    Sue, or whatever vile antivax troll name you want to call yourself this evening, are you really that bored that you have to spam your filth over here rather than haunting your usual places, or is it just fun for you to ignore your family? Get a life and go study some science.

  73. #73 bones
    June 24, 2008

    “I cannot PROVE to you that vaccinations trigger autism…”

    Exactly.

    In fact, you can’t even demonstrate, hypothesize, correlate, etc .

    Thank you for admitting that. Much appreciated.

  74. #74 Steve
    June 24, 2008

    Actually, John, I think there would be plenty of MDs and even non-MDs who would take a shot of thimerosal for a hundred grand. It would be easy and possibly harmless considering you haven’t said how much thimerosal would be injected. If it were a tiny amount like that found in old vaccines then there would be no problem, but if it were a huge dose then of course no one in their right mind would do it because the poison is in the dose. Get that through your skull.

  75. #75 John Best
    June 24, 2008

    Steve,
    The challenge calls for a dose proportionate by body weight to what a newborn infant receives. Anyone dumb enough to shoot it into a newborn should have no problem with shooting it into themselves. I wonder why Orac hasn’t taken the challenge?

  76. #76 Dedj
    June 25, 2008

    “LOL! Nice try Dedj… Way to look like an idiot. You probably should have kept quiet, huh?”

    Why? I correctly predicted what your response would be, and even told you why your response was wrong – and yet you still went on to make it. I could have made your posts for you and it wouldn’t have made an ounce of difference to their content. That’s how irrelevant to the discussion you are.

    BTW , thanks for confirming that you did no research at all before coming here.

    You have nothing to add and have admitted it. There is no value in continuing to talk with someone who admits they do not and cannot bring anything to the discussion. It is therefore over.

    Toodles.

  77. #77 Magpie
    June 25, 2008

    $100k for a shot of thimerosal proportionate by body weight to that received by infants? Hell yes! Sign me up! A soon as you show it’s held by a law firm and conditions for release are made available (something similar to Randi’s challenge will do nicely), I’m there with bells on.

    Easiest hundred grand EVER. Man, this is really going to be sweet.

    Just let me know when you’ve got the contact details of the law firm, John, so I can confirm.

  78. #78 Dear Boner
    June 25, 2008

    “I cannot PROVE to you that vaccinations trigger autism…”

    Exactly.

    In fact, you can’t even demonstrate, hypothesize, correlate, etc .

    Thank you for admitting that. Much appreciated”.

    Dearest Boner,

    I don’t believe that I have ever stated that there was absolute PROOF to vaccines triggering autism. I hold the word PROOF up to a very high standard and would not toss it around so easily. I wish the same could be said from you guys who seem to believe that the discussion is over. It isn’t. Having said that… the evidence is there that vaccines do trigger autism. Clearly more studies need to be done. That should be obvious.

  79. #79 Dear Dedj
    June 25, 2008

    “BTW , thanks for confirming that you did no research at all before coming here”.

    Actually Dedj I have done a lot of research on the topic. How much have you done? It doesn’t seem like much. It seems as if you actually think that there are some safety studies on thimerosal in vaccines. Ah, there aren’t. Asking me to go search databases to find the safety studies when there aren’t any… is funny. Somehow you seem to be one of those morons who upon finding out that there aren’t any safety studies on thimerosal in vaccines will now turn it around to be well… it isn’t necessary, we’ve been using thimerosal in vaccines for years! LOL! As if the fact that we’ve been injecting poison into people for years somehow speaks to its safety. Sure….

    By the way when someone makes a typo and misquotes a person (as Boner obviously did) please don’t try to turn it around to say that he meant to screw up the quote… By saying this, Dedj:

    “Also, boner did not screw up the quote – it was clearly a sarcastic paraphrase of what you said”.

    You made yourself out to be an idiot. Just admit there was a mistake and Boner screwed up the quote (which you followed along with like a good little sheep) and move on. no need to keep digging and digging like you did.

    Toodles to you as well… If you come across any safety studies in the scientific databases that you frequent, please by all means, come back to share. Thank you.

  80. #80 bones
    June 25, 2008

    “I cannot PROVE to you that vaccinations trigger autism…”

    “… the evidence is there that vaccines do trigger autism.”

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh…..*pffffft* [the sound of my aneurysm bursting]….

  81. #81 Dear Boner
    June 25, 2008

    “”I cannot PROVE to you that vaccinations trigger autism…”

    “… the evidence is there that vaccines do trigger autism.”

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh…..*pffffft* [the sound of my aneurysm bursting]….”

    I am sorry to hear of your medical issues, Boner. You should consult a doctor immediately about your aneurysm – that could be deadly. It could also be part of the reason for your confusion as of late.

    Let me try to explain it to you one more time. I consider the word “proof” to be of the highest degree of certainty. It would mean (for me) that there is absolutely no doubt about the final outcome. I am uncomfortable saying that there is “PROOF” of vaccines triggering autism. Proof for me would have to be 100% certainty as opposed to even a 99.9% certainty. Perhaps your definition of proof is different from mine. I know that the CDC and AAP are comfortable using bogus epi studies as their “proof” that vaccines don’t trigger autism. Thereby showing us that different people/organizations have very different views of the meaning of “proof”.

    That being said… there absolutely is evidence (which is different from PROOF) that vaccines can trigger autism and/or other medical conditions and problems in babies. As we know, they certainly can cause autism-like symptoms (otherwise known as AUTISM).

    I don’t know if this will make sense to you or if you will be able to understand the concept of proof vs. evidence but I do my best to try to enlighten you when you need enlightening.

    Good luck with your medical problems.

  82. #82 John Best
    June 25, 2008

    Since kids have been cured by removing the mercury, that’s all the proof you need that mercury caused the autism.

  83. #83 bones
    June 25, 2008

    “Since kids have been cured by removing the mercury, that’s all the proof you need that mercury caused the autism.”

    Well…whew! For a minute there I thought it was the vaccines.

    Proof (noun): anything serving as evidence, ie, “What proof do you have?”

    …and you have none, admittedly.

  84. #84 Dear Boner
    June 25, 2008

    “Proof (noun): anything serving as evidence, ie, “What proof do you have?”

    Ok. If that is the definition… I’ll go with it. In that case, there is proof that vaccinations trigger autism.

    For me, again, there is a difference. To give you an example… In a murder trial, I may have “evidence” that the accused was at the crime scene – footprints, cell phone left behind… but that does not PROVE the case with 100% certainty that the accused actually commited the murder.

    That is just my opinion. Apparently yours is different so I have reflected the change in my comment from waaaaay back. Hope that clears things up!

  85. #85 John Best
    June 26, 2008

    Bones,
    The point about this that you miss is that other parents can learn how to cure their autistic kids and your pre-pubescent comebacks can’t stop that. When lawyers like the ones who are handling the Omnibus case get their heads out of their asses and start having these kids testify, none of the scientific gobbledygook will even be needed.

    Then jerks like you can go back to making fun of religious people for believing in God. Of course, the religious folks will have the last laugh when you’re sweating your ass off cleaning the devil’s toilet.

  86. #86 bones
    June 26, 2008

    John, seriously, if there’s a Heaven AND you’re in it, then there probably is no Hell – really not very many people lower than you on the ignoramus-evil-O-meter.

    Or, if there is, then the standards for acceptance into Heaven have really dropped, and I have absolutely nothing to worry about.

  87. #87 The ignorant antivax royalty
    June 26, 2008

    Sue M. and John Best Jr.
    Separated at birth?

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